Thursday, March 21, 2013

From the Empirical Archives: I Hate Poetry by Benedict C. Schurwanz

I Hate Poetry
Benedict C. Schurwanz

PHOTO: E. Sabrina Lee

Originally published in the September 2012 issue of Empirical

I don’t write poems.
I haven’t written any in so many years.
I stopped because I got
With what I don’t have better words for than
“Beat Poetry,”
“Slam Poetry,”
Ridiculous lines that
Off the edge
Of a person’s mouth,
Words that are careful to
Hold on
To the tone on the edge of a
Hesitating to jump
From the edge of a pair of lips
For fear of falling
So far to the ground.

I don’t write poetry now.
So many years ago
I wanted to tell stories
That would be so much
Than the little world upon which I felt myself to live.
I wanted to touch the sky,
To reach into it and
The clouds, roll over and over
Through the cotton fog and have it
Stick to my skin
In tiny little flecks that could hold me
And carry me over the trees
That I longed so dearly
To look down on from above,
See those shaking leaves
From the other side, be
Above them.
I wanted to be above those stupid
Canned poets that
Their words
Into the ears
And the faces
Of the poor canned people who sit,
Hearing without listening.

When I hear poetry

In a slow
It’s the reader trying to put a gravity into the words that isn’t necessarily there.
Or maybe it is there, but we wouldn’t know it because we aren’t listening.
We aren’t listening because we’ve decided how we want to feel
Before we started reading,
Or writing.

Even the word, Poetry,
Is stupid,
The word Poem,
Is so small for what people
Want it to mean.
We’ve inherited it along with a language
That shapes our thoughts and gives us
The only tools we know how to use.

The words out of the mouths of so many poets seem to
Draw themselves out as if to
Force their rhythms to become
Your rhythms,
My rhythms.

I think we read this way,
Write this way,
Listen this way
because we’ve learned to.
We’ve been taught to.
By people who’ve been taught to.
By people who forgot how to do it any other way.

I don’t like poetry.
I don’t really want to sound like anyone else.
I don’t want fall into a
Of trying to imitate anyone
Or everyone else.

I don’t want to write words that sound good to other people if they don’t
Sound good to me.

I want to scream at everyone I ever see,
Tell them leave me alone!
And then,
Listen to me.

I want Poetry
To be naked music in the form of words.
I want to tell people what is true,
And I don’t really know what is true,
And tell them that I don’t know.

I want my words to have
No rhythm
Unless it isn’t fake,
Isn’t applied out of imitation.
Then it isn’t true.

I want a poem that doesn’t
Push its rhythm onto you
But peels back the layers of the world to show you the truth that is waiting
there for you to touch it,
Waiting inside your heart to be touched.

I want to write a poem
So I can lend you my eyes for a moment
And you can put them on and see what I see
Until the poem is done.

If we read in our own naked voice,
We might find the music that is
Waiting patiently behind the words,
Giving itself over to us,
Rolling at our feet in the ecstasy of
Finally being heard.

Remember what’s already been inside you,
What never left,
What is waiting still for you to meet it again.


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